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We've got spirit, yes we do... but do we need to put on some pants?
School officials in California and Florida are requiring cheerleaders to cover their skimpy skirts during school hours. The schools in question don’t seem to be troubled with the girls wearing the minimal clothing at actual games, but the girls must wear sweats over (or biker pants under) their revealing uniforms while at school. Cheerleaders say the new restrictions are “dorky,” and “unfair.”
An image provided by a member of the San Jose, Calif. cheer squad shows that cheerleaders’ uniforms haven’t changed much in the last twenty-five years. So why the debate? A new dress code. According to Silicon Valley Mercury News, administration had just begun stepping up enforcement of the school’s miniskirt ban when the new, shorter cheerleader skirts hit the halls of Piedmont Hills High.
Piedmont Hills principal Traci Williams explained the problem bluntly to the newspaper: "Cheeks are hanging out. We don't want them bending over."
Do you have a teenager?" added Vice Principal Jenner Perez. "Well, if you don't, then you haven't seen how short these skirts are."
On the other end of the bullhorn are girls playing sports, often subject to scantier uniforms than their male counterparts. Volleyball, tennis, even basketball players often suit up in skimpy attire if they're girls, while boys playing the same sports wear long baggy shorts.
Francisca Orgtega points out the difference in boys and girls uniforms on her Houston Chronicle "Mom Houston" blog:
"Earlier this year my junior-high age daughter told me they had to close the doors and keep the boys out of the gym when the volleyball girls practiced because the girls didn’t want boys looking at them in the tiny shorts they had to wear. "
Will all sports soon look like beach volleyball? It’s amazing how many men have become armchair enthusiasts since girls started flashing signals on their bikini-clad bottoms in high-def. Hello, advertising dollars! One great leap in the sand for feminism.
On the other hand, sometimes it really is easier to smash a ball or execute a jump without a bunch of material in your way. Gymnasts have known this for years. So maybe tiny shorts and form fitting sports bras are actually a win for feminism? Frankly, it makes my head spin like Kristi Yamaguchi on a good day. (Don’t get me started on those itty-bitty figure skating numbers.)
Get Over It, Grandma
Too much uproar about immodest clothing sounds like hundred-year-old complaints about the scandalous shrinking swimsuit. (Speaking of, it’s not like boys never show their wares. Have you seen Speedos? They may make up for every tiny tennis skirt, butt-hugging volleyball short, and too-tight ski sweater combined.)
We’re not going to solve gender inequity or dictate adolescent behavior by covering up the cheerleaders. And, while distracting, nobody’s academic career is made or broken because of an exposed thigh. Besides, those girls sacrificially stand out in the cold all those Friday nights. If getting extra mileage out of the cute outfit is their only perk, I say let them have it. Then again, I’ve seen more fabric on a Barbie doll hooker.
Have skirts gotten too short, or are school administrators just too long -- in the tooth? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Lela Davidson is the author of Blacklisted from the PTA (Jupiter Press, imprint of Wyatt-MacKenzie, July 2011). Her writing is featured regularly in family and parenting magazines throughout the United States and Canada. She blogs about marriage, motherhood, and life-after-40 at After the Bubbly.